Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli has ordered the resumption of colleges, universities, partial secondary school learning as well as sporting activities beginning on 1 June.

Tanzania halted some public gatherings, including learning and sporting activities in March following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

But Magufuli says there is no need to continue with the partial lockdown because the number of infections in the country has gone down.

He was speaking during the swearing-in ceremony of a new Deputy Health Minister.

Late on Saturday Magufuli removed former Deputy Health Minister Faustine Ndugulile, without providing an explanation. The move follows the suspension of the head of the country’s national laboratory after Magufuli questioned the COVID-19 test kits.

In the past few days, Magufuli rejected claims that his government was mishandling its response to the coronavirus outbreak. He also insists that the number of COVID-19 patients in the country has reduced, although Tanzania has not released any updates on the disease infection trends in the country since the end of April.

Tanzanian opposition part ATC leader Zitto Kabwe discusses concerns raised over Tanzania’s COVID-19 response:

On Monday this week, the East African nation announced the reopening of its skies for international passenger flights and waived the need for the mandatory 14-day quarantine for those arriving into the country.

Magufuli said on Sunday that some unspecified airlines had secured full bookings of tourists planning to visit Tanzania and that when those tourists arrive they would not be required to enter mandatory quarantine, but would have their temperature checked.

“If they have no signs of corona, let them go see the animals,” he said.

He also said on Sunday that hospitals in Tanzania showed a growing trend of recoveries. Without giving specific dates, he said one hospital in Dar es Salaam had 198 patients, but was now only treating 12 cases.

He said he refused to impose a lockdown as the move would have seriously damaged the economy and led to job losses.

“It (lockdown) was a bizarre guideline. We have embarked on a lot of projects which would have grounded to a halt,” he said. – Additional reporting by Reuters